Jaleang Manga

One of my fondest childhood memories.

A diminutive Ate Garing [ Leodegaria Cabrera Nuqui, our beloved cook of 36 years from 1947 – 83 🙂 ], wearing an old printed “duster” and an equally aged apron sat on a stool, a wet face towel over her head, as she endlessly and mindlessly stirred the thick golden brew — inside the big black cauldron mounted over a small bonfire —around with a wooden pole.  Around and around… around and around…for hours and hours on end!!! 

And it was not just a matter of flinging the mangoes into that big black cauldron!!!  There were all sorts of secret techniques that ensured a delicious, nonpareil, golden [ and i mean golden! ] mango preserve with that tantalizing mix of sweetness and sourness, and that difficult-to-achieve slide yet slight chewiness. The carabao mangoes had to be at a certain stage of development.  Precautions were taken to make sure that the peeled mango flesh did not blacken. The correct temperature had been reached once the mango stew had bubbled. Then the brew had to be endlessly stirred to make sure that it would not produce a blackened crust.  The mango preserve was finally ready when it had reached a translucent, glutinous consistency. 

Caveat:  One had to keep constant tabs on the consistency to make sure that one did not end up producing a race car tire!!!  😛 

It was a rowing machine way before PreCor thought of it.  Cardio to the max!

It was a ritual that unfailingly took place every year during Mango Season.  For as long as she was alive until her death in 1983. 

And when the mixture had cooled, we rambunctious children would be sticking our dirty little fingers into it and licking the yummy “jaleang manga”!!!

We were healthy, did not have Diabetes, and did not give a damn about tooth decay.  We only brushed our teeth when threatened by our “yayas.”  We thought Diabetes was a simple disease which could be cured by drinking boiled “chichirica” leaves… just like Lola Charing!!!

In retrospect, that green “chichirica” infusion looked absolutely chic!!!  I must have it prepared sometime!!!   😛



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